One Direction: This Is Us may not convert the whole population into “Directioners,” but it certainly does do its very best. Who would have thought that the same man who warned us about the dangers of Big Macs would be promoting a boy band? Morgan Spurlock (the veteran documentarian who has done projects such as Super Size Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) creates a solid documentary (or “popumentary” if you want to call it that!) that informs non fans and entertains the die-hard ones. It is a fun, well-thought-out musical documentary following five guys who have become the biggest boy band in the world: One Direction.
The film focuses on the view points of the five members: Niall, Liam, Louis, Harry, and Zayn (all 19 or older, by the way) as they tour the world and experience fame (and screaming teen girls) together. How they formed as a band is explored in the first quarter, showing their humble beginnings in middle-class United Kingdom all the way through coming in third on the X Factor UK. Once this is established, the film goes on to how they are adjusting to their hectic life dealing with fans, visiting a different city everyday, and missing home and their families. Of course, throughout the film, all of this is balanced with concert footage of the boys singing and messing around on stage.
There are many things to enjoy about the film, even if you aren’t a One Direction fan. First, Spurlock really makes sure to show the guys in their true light-which is humble, fun, down to earth. He wanted to show that they weren’t just this clean-cut, cookie-cutter boy band and proves it in many moments. For instance, in the very beginning as the boys are “posing” for the title sequence, they stand there all model like until Louis looks over at Niall and just decides to slap him the face, hard! Niall winces for a minute and just chuckles in his Irish gab, “What did ya do tat for?! ” And everyone breaks into laughter, completely killing the seriousness of the moment. This scene seems to capture the essence of the band. These guys are here to have fun and mess around. It’s not all about work.
Also, there are fun moments where the guys “mess” with the fans. For instance, Liam, Louis, and Niall are on a hotel balcony with fans below and decide to run back and forth against the rail to “hide” and then “reappear” to them. The whole movie is filled with these kind of silly moments to remind the viewer that these are just normal guys except for the fact that they’re in a world-famous boy band.
Even though One Direction: This Is Us is not going to sway everyone to fall in love with these five superstars (the catchy pop music you have to endure during concert moments is not for everyone), it will give the non fans better insight and appreciation into who they are and why they are successful. Of course, to die-hard fans it will be complete “eye candy” and fun, just making them love the guys even more. This documentary is better in the fact that it focuses more on the guys and who they are as people rather than just 90 minutes of concert footage like other concert movies have done.
Has Spurlock done his very best to convince us to embrace the “One Direction infection”? By using realistic storytelling format, humor, and honesty, I say a definite yes.